Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Wishing everyone a very happy and of course healthy 2022.

Love this time of year as it can feel like a good time to set positive goals. The first one on my list for 2022 is to finish the first version of the ‘Pandemic Pantry’ cookbook. I’m still busy adding in your recipes and laying the pages out. It is more time consuming than I imagined but I’ve made great headway and I hope to have every single submitted recipe in and laid out nicely by the end of the day. Tomorrow I’ll need to write up a few pages, add in some conversion charts (as we have recipes that have been submitted from different continents) and finally proof read it all then upload it to my website.

3rd JANUARY UPDATE: It really is taking me longer than I thought. I'm putting in quite a few hours each day but it takes me around 20 minutes to lay out a recipe. I have another 20+ to do plus write up and charts. In the end we will have around 70 in total. I'll put in another few hours today, I'm back to work tomorrow and will just do my best and realistically aim to get this completed by the end of next weekend.

It will always be an evolving community cookbook throughout this year as I will always be adding in extra pages if anyone else submits recipes or I add a few more myself.

Thanks once again for all who have sent me through recipes for inclusion. C xxxxx

Pandemic Pantry Recipe Cards to Download

Dear all, I’m working as hard as I can on the FREE to download ‘Pandemic Pantry’ community cookbook and am now nearly half way through the re-do! I need about 3 more full days so am hopeful about having it available to download on January 1st, 2022! Thank you for everyone who has submitted recipes!

I am also creating a downloadable recipe card for each and every recipe so thought I’d give you a teaser of some of the recipes. Each one can we downloaded or printed.

Recipe Card No 1. Pandemic Stew: Download recipe card
Recipe Card No 2. Soda Bread + Sundried Tomatoes: Download recipe card
Recipe Card No 3. Skirlie + Corned Beef Stovies: Download recipe card

I am still open to receiving any simple, frugal or favourite recipes you have used during the pandemic and you are also welcome to send a sentence on your thoughts about your recipe, the pandemic, include a link to your website/blog or favourite charity and I will be sure to include this with your recipe.

Thank you once again for supporting this.

C xxxx

Pandemic Pantry Sample Recipe Card

Dear all,

I wondered if you could help me. I’m busy working on what will be the FREE downloadable Pandemic Pantry community cookbook. I’m redoing it from scratch as I wasn’t happy with my first attempt but want to get it right and completed by January 1st. As well as the free downloadable cookbook (thank you for people for sending in their favourite recipes for inclusion) I also want to be able to offer FREE downloadable recipe cards like the one above too!

Obviously the image size above is too small to see clearly so I wondered if you could do the following..

FONT1: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A RECIPE CARD SAMPLE

FONT 2: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A RECIPE CARD SAMPLE

and give me feedback on the font that I have used. I love serif fonts with their little roundy tails but I just want to make sure that it can be read OK?

Thank you so much and I really appreciate your feedback.

C xxxx

Gingerbread People – Recipe No. 197

It’s funny to think that the first documented instance of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuit was at the court of Elizabeth I of England. She had the gingerbread figures made and presented in the likeness of some of her important guests which brought the human shape of the gingerbread cookies into popularity. Read more here.

Christmas is never Christmas without gingerbread people or houses! I’ve come across several recipes for ‘Gingerbread Men’ from around the 1940s, some using Golden Syrup (UK), some using Molasses or Corn Syrup (North America). Some contain an egg, others don’t.

Below is my favourite recipe in which I make one adaption to improve the binding and holding together of the gingerbread. It tastes absolutely lovely, is firm enough to also make slabs for gingerbread houses, we may do that next year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and really hope and wish that 2022 will be a year that sees you in good health and experience much happiness.

C xxxx

Ingredients

  • 350g plain flour
  • 140g of butter or margarine
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 3tbsp golden syrup (or molasses)
  • 1tbsp ground flaxseed (mix with 2.5 tablespoons of hot water, it helps hold the mixture together when baking)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt

Method

  • Mix the flaxseed with 2.5 tablespoons of hot water. Mix well and set aside to thicken.
  • Melt butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan on a low heat stirring slowly until all runny and melted. Set this aside in a mixing bowl to cool down a bit.
  • Stir in the flaxseed mixture thoroughly.
  • Add in the sieved flour, bicarbonate of soda, pinch of salt and all the spices and mix until a smooth dough is formed.
  • Wrap or place in container and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oven to 180C
  • Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to about 0.5cm and start stamping out the gingerbread.
  • Place on parchment paper on a baking tray.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes (slightly more or less according to your oven)
  • Remove from oven when cooked. Leave on sheet to cool down for 15 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Once fully cold then you can keep in an airtight container for about a week or so.
  • Decorate with icing sugar when fully cold. If no icing sugar available dent the dough before cooking to form eyes, mouth and buttons! Or just decorate with anything you’ve got!

Makes about 12 large gingerbread people.

The 1940’s Experiment on BBC World Service

What happens when you put a food writer, an author and a blogger in a virtual room with a BBC presenter and a BBC producer?

Karen Burns-Booth (Lavender & Lovage), Claud Fullwood (The Rations Challenge: Forty Days of Feasting in a Wartime Kitchen) and myself were invited by the BBC to be part of a discussion on the BBC World Service programme “The Food Chain” on our modern day experiences of living on wartime rations and the reasons behind why we undertook these ‘experiments’.

The episode has aired this morning and you can listen to it by clicking here. Karen and Claud are absolutely fascinating to listen too and we all got on so well so watch this space for future 1940’s collaborations in 2022.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct1rgr

The Food Chain: Why I chose to live on rations.

World War Two rationing imposed severe restrictions on food, so why would anyone voluntarily go back to it?

Ruth Alexander meets three women who chose to adopt the diet endured in 1940s and 1950s Britain, one of them for an entire year.

We hear how such scarcity inspired creativity, a reverence for the ingenuity of wartime cooks, and an enduring change of perspective on the responsibility of the 21st century food consumer.

If you would like to get in touch with the show please email thefoodchain@bbc.co.uk.

Presenter: Ruth Alexander Producer: Simon Tulett
Contributors:
Karen Burns-Booth, food writer – www.lavenderandlovage.com
Claud Fullwood, author of The Rations Challenge: Forty Days of Feasting in a Wartime Kitchen
Carolyn Ekins, blogger – www.the1940sExperiment.com

Just a heads up this is FINALLY launching on January 1st, 2022. A FREE download for all. I appreciate you bearing with me all this time. C xxxxx

Jake died. You never really know…

Here is Jake. Jake is my work colleague. Sorry, I mean Jake WAS my work colleague. We’ll never see him again. Ever.

Everyone, where I work, will always say this about Jake, he was lovely, he was friendly, he never had a bad word to say about anybody, he smiled even though we knew he was struggling with the loss of his father, we thought he was brave. A brave boy.

Last month I took one of the last photos ever of Jake, the one above. If only I knew he was so fragile, everyone is thinking that now about the last time they talked to Jake. If only we knew, if only we could have reached out….

Out of respect for the family I’ve not shared this for the last couple of weeks, to be honest I’ve been too sad too, but I’ve been assured by colleagues that doing everything possible to help Jakes family is something we must now all do. Jakes Mum lost her husband just months ago and now she has lost her darling boy. Being a mother who loves her children more than anything else on earth, I know her heart must be truly broken.

Mental Health, and not knowing how to deal with your thoughts and feelings, KILLS. There, I’ve said it. We have to be vigilant, make sure we have conversations out loud to anyone who will listen in our workplaces, in the pubs, on birthdays, at Christmas, at funerals. We have to normalize this quiet taker of our children, our friends, our family, in the hope it may save just one precious life so people like Jake’s mum get to hug their child for another day.

The financial burden for this family is now immense. At work we’ve decided to do all we can to at least help financially, pay for the funeral and a bit more, at least we can try.

There are two things I am asking my readers, my friends, my old friends to do right now. Any of them will help. Both of them will help more.

a) Share this post to start a mental health conversation

b) Please, please, please go without your takeaway coffee today and instead donate that money to Jakes family.

CLICK HERE FOR GO FUND ME PAGE

For everyone who donates anything or shares this post, I’ll add your first name to Jakes wall, I think it would be nice to give this to his Mum to show her how many people thought of her son. And for anyone who donates £5 or more I will send you a Christmas postcard, to say thank you for your kindness wherever you are in the world.

This is an effort by all of us at work so please if you donate, drop me a message with your name (and address if you’d like me to send you a postcard in December).

I really didn’t know what I could do to raise money so I hope you don’t mind.

I thank you with all my heart,

C xxxxxx

Cheers Jake

PS: Filling up Jakes wall with the first names of all those who have shared blog or social posts or donated and I’m going to print it off and mount it for his Mum just so she can see how many people were thinking of him. Thank you once again all xxx

The Soldier

Please listen, Lest We Forget. C xxx

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

By Rupert Brooke, 1915

Thank you for your 8 million page views.

It blows my mind but also comforts me that there are many people out there who still remember and hold on strong to some of the values and sensibilities our parents, grandparents and great grandparents possessed. To know there ARE people remembering and in some ways reliving these values through education and re-creation makes me happy.

It is so hard to truly understand the times and conditions families had to endure, the uncertainty, the unknown, tragedy, sadness, joy, elation, the psychological anguish…. no we can’t really understand, not unless we have lived through it ourselves and that applies to our modern day lives too. We NEVER really know how someone else is feeling, how they are coping, how they are managing to get through their day. We need to be kind, we need to look out for our neighbour.

I digress…This hefty, old, creaking blog (much like myself) has enjoyed so many of your stories (9,500 comments), has 818 posts and nearly 200 recipes published, 1.8 million visitors and over 8 million views.

According to some friends, I own Google (well for wartime recipes and WW2 recipe searches). Google has referred people to my blog 1.7 million times from it’s search engine, Facebook 170,000 times and Pinterest 34,000 times. Sounds like I’m boasting ….probably am a bit.

Community means everything to me. I feel privileged to be able to glimpse into so many amazing lives and thoughts through your comments and interactions. Thank you for continuing to visit and for sharing your thoughts and expertise. I always look forward to reading your comments and discussions.

Wishing you all the best, C xxxxxx

Sage Lilleyman recreates a recipe from my blog

It was great to wake up and discover that Sage Lilleyman had given my hefty old blog a lovely shout out to her 147k subscribers. She did a great job on the recipe, I need to recreate and rephotograph it though. I was so broke at the time (10 years ago and newly single with 3 children) that the photos were taken with something that had cost me $5 (I was living in Canada at the time). You can tell but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Struggles shape us…

I digress, Sage is adorable, her aesthetic which is vintage 40s/50s is so interesting and she has chickens and eats 3 portions of cottage pie. You need to check out her complete series of recipes on her YouTube channel here and subscribe!

While you’re at it give me a subscribe too, my videos are terrible in comparison and all over the place (like my brain) but with only 740 subscribers it would be lovely to gain a few more. The 1940s Experiment on YouTube here.

Finally a thank you to Melanie Lester over on YouTube who let me know, I appreciate that and thank you once again to Sage, a huge compliment!

Links:

Sage Lilleyman on Instagram

Sage Lilleyman on YouTube

C xxxxxx

Parsnip Pudding – Recipe No. 196

So when I saw this recipe for a strange wartime pudding made out of parsnips (no fat, no flour) I immediately thought of the fun and games I had creating mock banana sandwiches made out of parsnips. Knowing that I had 4 gnarly parsnips hiding under limp romaine lettuce in my salad drawer of the fridge, there was no doubt in my mind that now was the time to give it a go and of course taste test!

As I write this I’m waiting for the puddings to finish baking so will share my verdict right at the end. My thoughts are it won’t be unpleasant but it will likely be a strange taste and texture. The sort of dish that if you offered to unwitting friends or family members, they might comment “ooo this is unusual, it reminds me of something but I can’t quite put my finger on it”. I would of course reply, “ahh yes that will be because it’s fat free” and they would then add another spoonful to their bowl.

HONEST FINAL VERDICT: It tasted strange, I definitely wouldn’t give this to visitors unless I didn’t want them to come back again. At first a hard hit of parsnip quickly knocked on the head with chocolate and sweetness. It didn’t rise as I expected and with hindsight I put this down to not enough bicarbonate of soda and too much milk. The mixture was too sloppy. You can see from the photos and video what I mean. A spectacular aesthetic fail! Well a field full of cow pats complete and utter fail really! The things I do for Queen and country!

Here is the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium or 3 large peeled, chopped, well cooked, cold, mashed parsnips
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • a pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • up to 1/2 pint of warm milk
  • sugar, sweetener or golden syrup

Method

Peel, chop, steam or boil the parsnips until well cooked and nice and soft.

Drain and run under cold water to hasten the cooling process

Mash the parsnips well then add in the cocoa (to you own taste but be warned it will taste bitter until you add in the sugar or syrup) and pinch of bicarbonate of soda.

Add in the syrup or sugar or sweetener to your own taste (which is when the cocoa no longer tastes too bitter and the parsnip isn’t overwhelming!). Mix well.

Add the warm milk bit by bit and mix well inbetween. Add enough so the mixture is smooth. (I used about 1/3rd of a pint of plant based milk and it was quite runny but from my final results I would say 1/4 of a pint would be better)

Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes at 180C

Serves 4.

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